The term moderating variable refers to a variable that can strengthen, diminish, negate, or otherwise alter the association between independent and dependent variables. Moderating variables can also change the direction of this relationship. A moderating variable can either be categorical (e.g., race) or continuous (e.g., weight), and is used exclusively in quantitative, rather than qualitative, research. Moderating variables are useful because they help explain the links between the independent and dependent variables. Also sometimes referred to as simply moderators, these moderating variables provide additional information regarding the association between two variables in quantitative research by explaining what features can make that association stronger, weaker, or even disappear.
For example, in experimental studies, X (independent variable) causes Y (dependent variable). A third variable, M ...
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